How To Write Copy by finegdt


									How to Copywrite Right   Page 1
Reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information
presented in this book is accurate. However, the reader should
understand that the information provided does not constitute
legal, medical or professional advice of any kind.

No Liability: this product is supplied “as is” and without
warranties. All warranties, express or implied, are hereby

Use of this product constitutes acceptance of the “No Liability”
policy. If you do not agree with this policy, you are not
permitted to use or distribute this product.

Neither the author, the publisher nor the distributor of this
material shall be liable for any losses or damages whatsoever
(including, without limitation, consequential loss or damage)
directly or indirectly arising from the use of this product.

                               How to Copywrite Right           Page 2
Table of Contents

Understanding Copywriting........................................................ 4 

The Art & Science of Copywriting............................................. 6 

The Fundamental Rules .............................................................. 9 

Ice to an Eskimo, Sand to an Arab............................................ 19 

Every Day in Every Way … ..................................................... 21 

The Close.................................................................................. 22 

                                          How to Copywrite Right                          Page 3
Understanding Copywriting

To embark on a career as a copywriter, you first need to
understand exactly how it differs from regular writing. It doesn’t
help that the word “copy” is sometimes applied to writing of any
kind that is intended for publication. A newspaper journalist
may be congratulated by his editor for producing “great copy”; a
draft novel will be scrutinized by a copy editor before being sent
for printing.

In a way, newspapers and novels are copy in that the desired
result is that they are purchased. However, the content of that
copy does not directly advertise the publication, and this is
where it cannot be considered copywriting in the sense that this
book is using the term i.e. producing words that sell.

Copywriting is the use of words as promotional tools. They can
promote a person, a business, a product, an opinion or idea, and
they can appear on TV, radio, websites, in direct mailings,
brochures, press releases, catalogues, on flyers, billboards or via
any other kind of advertising material.

A copywriter’s job is to persuade the reader, listener or viewer
to take action, which usually means parting with some money in
exchange for a product or service. Alternatively, it may be used
to promote a certain opinion, or to dissuade people from
subscribing to a certain point of view.

One huge area for copywriters to plunder these days is Search
Engine Optimization (SEO), which is content written for
websites with keywords tactically dropped in at given intervals.
This is designed to rank the website more highly on the various
search engines so that more potential buyers will find it on a
related search.

                              How to Copywrite Right            Page 4
You can learn the skill-set for copywriting. The only real
proviso is that you possess a reasonable grasp of the English
language so that you can express your thoughts in a way that
will not cause anyone to double-take. Copy that causes
confusion or that looks or sounds unintelligent will be
distracting. This should not be a problem for most people
because copywriting is not about using complex language. The
most powerful advertising messages are often the most simple.

                            How to Copywrite Right          Page 5
The Art & Science of Copywriting
Whilst creative writing is more art than science, informed
opinion is that copywriting is far more science than art. This is,
by and large, an accurate assessment, although it would be a
serious mistake to dismiss the importance of creative flair in

Comparing the two, a novelist will use artistry to produce a
great piece of work, but this cannot happen without a formulaic
plot structure. The science is used to give an order to the artistic
prose. A copywriter will use science to optimally trigger buying
impulses. Marketing strategies have been around for long
enough that there is little guesswork involved in what does or
doesn’t work.

You can argue about the percentages – which will vary
depending on what exactly you are promoting – but creative
writing is more art, and copywriting is more science.

Despite that, it is not true to say that creative writing goes for
the heart and copywriting goes for the brain. The seat of our
emotions is not in the heart, even if we romantically attribute it
to that place and often physically feel it there. Our emotions
happen in our brains as chemical reactions that are then fired
around our systems and experienced all over the body.

Copywriters should not forget that humans are emotional
creatures. The paradox is that to trigger these emotional
responses requires a scientific approach by the copywriter; an
observance of certain rules proven to have worked time and time

This is great news for you, the budding copywriter. There is no
need to sit down and ponder some dazzling new approach. You
don’t need to sign up to any creative writing course to be a

                               How to Copywrite Right            Page 6
successful copywriter. In fact, as a copywriter, you can shoot
yourself in the foot by trying to be too creative, as this can
interfere with the elements that have been proven over time to
work effectively in promoting interest and sales.

If you’re not sure about this, consider how much attention you
pay to a billboard as you are driving by. For one thing, you can’t
physically pay it much heed without getting distracted and
causing a car wreck. Its message therefore needs to be highly
succinct, which leaves little room for flowing creativity. It is the
headline that counts. However, there is certainly an art to
creating a memorable slogan that will stick in the mind after one
brief glance.

The vast majority of advertising that ends up in front of you is
unsolicited. You didn’t ask to be shown it, therefore if it is to
work effectively it has to grab your attention almost instantly or
you will dismiss it. A good copywriter appreciates this fact, and
gears their copy to press the right buttons in their audience as
quickly as possible. This is the science. Perhaps some people
may term it an art form, but even the word “form” suggests that
there is an accepted structure that must exist for it to work.

The Client Brief

This may further define the copywriter’s job as more of a
science than an art. If a car company wants you to promote their
latest model and the selling point is its hybrid engine, then your
brief is defined. Waxing lyrical about its upholstery is not going
to cut it. That may be a requirement once the hook is in, but
companies usually have their own ideas about where the focus
of an ad campaign should be, thus copywriters generally do not
have the freedom to play around and experiment as a true artist

A good copywriter will listen to the brief and know exactly what
it is that the client wishes to convey. As a copywriter, it is your

                               How to Copywrite Right            Page 7
job to express those points powerfully, according to the methods
that you know have traditionally worked best.

Of course, this is also where the art comes in because you must
be able to give life to whatever words you use. Writing about a
new sleeping pill, there is no doubt that the most junior
employee of the pharmaceutical company could come up with
the line: “Makes you go to sleep when you couldn’t before”. A
copywriter will be called upon because the client automatically
and rightly assumes that a good copywriter will combine a
competent level of writing skills with intelligence, common
sense, creativity and imagination. The intelligence and common
sense to take on board the brief and know how to apply tried and
trusted marketing rules to it, and the creativity and imagination
to perhaps add that special sparkle to the finished message.

Ultimately, defining copywriting is a semantic exercise, and it
doesn’t much matter what you call it so long as you remember
that there are rules that must be obeyed. When an artist mixes
colors on a palette, it is both art and science. Science dictates
how the colors mix together – you can never mix red and yellow
and not get orange – whilst the art is in tweaking the proportions
to achieve the subtleties.

As a copywriter, being able to grasp both is obviously beneficial
as it gives you the flexibility to adapt to all briefs, but you
should not be overly concerned with subtleties. Subtleties are
often lost on people, especially those people who don’t have the
time or inclination to uncover them.

Remember always that your average audience needs bold colors,
and those you can easily learn to produce.

                              How to Copywrite Right           Page 8
The Fundamental Rules
Identify the Unique Selling Point (USP)

The Unique Selling Point (or Proposition) is a well-known
marketing ploy, although there is really nothing spectacularly
clever about it. In fact, the need to establish a USP is common
sense. Would you go for a job interview without any planned
response to the question of why the company should employ
you over the next candidate? That’s your USP. In truth, it may
not be that unique, but you should still be able to define a
special talent for yourself.

Similarly, copywriters shouldn’t beat themselves up over their
inability to find a truly unique selling point for a product,
especially if it leads to a bending of the truth. In the world of
marketing, there really is very little new under the sun. Most
times, a new ad campaign is simply a redux of one already used
to good effect in the past.

When the brief does not directly indicate the USP it wants to
push, you as a copywriter must try to locate one. The idea is to
set the product apart from, and above, the competition. What is
it that your product does better than the rest? Whatever the
client tells you about this, research it some more. Find out all
you can about the market so that you can write your copy with

Make an Offer

When products are on special offer, public interest is piqued.
People love to think they are grabbing a bargain, or even just
saving themselves a few cents over a different brand or on the
previous price of the offer product.

                              How to Copywrite Right             Page 9
This is perhaps the most important way to close any deal in the
advertising world. The offer taps into the greedy streak that we
all possess. It is so powerful that it is frequently able to bypass
the rational brain and straight away trigger the physical reaction
of hand-in-pocket.

It has been shown that certain unscrupulous supermarkets can
increase their profits by placing display stands near the doors
advertising special offers. In itself, this is not unscrupulous.
Until you consider that the product advertised can be found in
larger containers for less money further inside the store.
Customers wind up walking out with a product they didn’t
intend to buy at an inflated price, all because the word “offer”
appeared above it.

Your copy can make people buy when it grabs their attention
with a special offer.

The Headline

Many people scan a newspaper deciding on the basis of the
headline alone whether or not they will read any given article. A
headline is there to sum up the content of the article, and if you
are a copywriter you must be able to hit your audience smack
between the eyes the moment they see it.

Which is most interesting as a magazine article headline? “My
dog ran away”, “Aliens stole my dog”, or “Martians ate my
Chihuahua”? The story itself may be the same – some nutty
individual loses their pet and blames an ET – but the headlines
say very different things. (The difference between the latter two
is the level of detail in the third, which adds color and interest to
the headline.)

Remember that unsolicited advertising material is normally only
of interest when you are confined to one place with nothing
better to do. In all other circumstances, it has to be very enticing

                               How to Copywrite Right              Page 10
to draw people in and get them to read it. A strong and attractive
headline can make all the difference, and make or break an ad

Keep it Simple and Direct

Your copy will obviously be different if geared towards
surgeons rather than schoolchildren, but whoever you are trying
to reach, your message should be simple and direct. Cater to the
short attention span and say what you need to say clearly and
without going round the houses.

Even in a long piece of copy, the overall message should be
contained in the opening gambit. You can go into detail later on,
but many people will not have the time or patience to wait for
the punch line.

Bear in mind also that – unless you are catering to an audience
of rocket scientists – there will be a diverse group of people
potentially in receipt of your message. You don’t need to talk
down to people, as though you’re talking to five year-olds, but
you should say what you mean very clearly. Language that is
difficult to understand may be a deal-breaker for some.

Imagine a school teacher addressing a class after a heavy fall of
snow, and consider which message is most effective: “There
shall be no gratuitous redistribution of nature’s benevolence” or
“Don’t throw snowballs”. They both mean the same, but the
message of the first will be lost on the majority of school-age
kids, if not most adults. (This is a genuine quote, by the way!)

Remember that flowery or “clever” language can alienate a
large part of your audience, either because they won’t
understand what you’re saying or because they’ll think you’re
being unnecessarily elitist. Don’t try to impress anyone, just
write in a conversational tone that will reach your target

                              How to Copywrite Right           Page 11
Fire up Your Copy

Use words that fire the imagination, and please don’t think that
this contradicts the point just made. You can make a powerful
announcement without sounding verbose. Which of these
following sentences sounds best?

“You will be happy you did this because you will make a lot of
money.” Or, “Relaxing on your luxury yacht in years to come,
you will know you made a truly life-changing decision.”

There are no fancy words in the second one – nothing anyone
would struggle to understand or find irritating – but it swaps a
dead statement for one that engages the imagination and lends a
momentous note to the occasion.

And Your Point Is?

Have you ever been faced with a salesperson who lists all the
technical specifications of a product without telling you how
any of the features will benefit you?

Selling a product is not about describing its features; it is about
explaining how those features will make your life better. It is
about benefits that are personal to the individual.

Effective copywriting should speak of the personal gains the
product or service will offer. Let’s say you are asked to write
copy for a company that sells running shoes. The new product
has a revolutionary shock-absorbing sole (its USP). Would the
customer want to know the chemical composition of the sole?
Or would they want to know that it can reduce damage to joints
and cartilage so that more frequent exercise can be taken so that
more weight can be lost so that long-term health will improve so
that longevity increases so that more time can be spent with the
grandkids in later life?

                               How to Copywrite Right            Page 12
Of course you wouldn’t go that far with it, but the principle is
sound; your intention is to alert your audience to the many
benefits they will enjoy by choosing your client’s product over a

Appeal to the Emotions

This is where your artistry as a writer can come into its own.
Although copywriting rules should be followed in a scientific
manner because they have been proven to work, an ability to
appeal to the customer’s emotions is a precious talent, and it can
reap great financial rewards for yourself and your client.

The literary skills of the copywriter will dictate how effective
this will be, and it is certainly not necessary to write tear-jerking
prose to achieve the desired result. In fact, one of the best ways
to trigger the emotions is to do what was discussed in the point
above: simply describe the positive benefits for the customer.
People like to imagine themselves being happy and healthy so
most of the hard work is already done; you just need to show
them the way. Describe a scene that links the product with a
happy outcome for the customer.

Know the Obstacles and Destroy Them

Great salespeople enter a sales pitch knowing every conceivable
objection that can head their way. Not only that, but they have
answers prepared to defuse them. Not only that, but they
positively welcome these customer objections because they
know that as each one is removed, making the sale is a step

Similarly, clever copywriters do not sidestep the possible
objections customers may have to purchasing; instead, they
plainly identify them in their copy and deal with them. Although
it may seem a risky strategy to point out the reasons why a

                               How to Copywrite Right             Page 13
person might not buy, you can rest assured these objections will
not just pass by unnoticed for the lack of you mentioning them.

Besides which, you don’t have to overtly label them as customer
objections; rather, you can just name the benefits that smash
them to pieces. The main objections are:

   I don't have the time – You can see this objection
    answered in copy written for exercise apparatus with such
    comments as “Abs to be proud of in only five minutes a
    day!” This doesn’t overtly identify the objection, although
    one approach is to do just that: “Think you don’t have time
    to build great abs? Think again! Five minutes a day is all
    you need!”

   I don't have the money – This is the initial standard
    defensive response from even the very wealthy, and it can
    be a tough one to overcome. It is usually best answered by
    creating such a list of benefits that the price seems fully

   It won't work for me – Without knowing the circumstances
    of each customer, you can’t really cover all the bases here,
    but you can certainly identify the main reasons why
    someone might logically arrive at such a conclusion. Then
    you need to identify why they are mistaken.

   I don't believe you – The canny consumer has seen every
    trick in the book. Cynicism is a copywriter’s arch-enemy,
    but also their raison d’être. If customers did not need
    persuading, copywriters would be out of work. The best
    way to get around this one is by providing credible
    benefits, customer testimonials, and a money-back

   I don't need it – This is probably the easiest objection to
    overcome because a customer thinking this is clinging on

                             How to Copywrite Right           Page 14
     with their fingertips to the final objection. Very likely the
     customer won’t actually need the product. Your thought
     must be: No, but you WANT it, and your copy must be so
     attractive that it makes them realize this.

Long Copy Sells

This may seem like a contradiction given the previous advice to
keep things simple and direct, but different briefs call for
different tactics and varying amounts of content.

Products or services that are expensive will not be easily sold
with a 100-word pitch. Equally, it may take more effort to
explain the benefits of certain tech-based products or to create
an adequate level of credibility, especially when it’s something
that naturally breeds skepticism. Weight-loss programs would
fall into this category.

Providing you’ve managed to initially hook the audience with a
strong headline and an attractive offer, long copy may be the
order of the day. This approach can be seen in web copy where a
long pitch is interspersed by numerous clickable “Buy” buttons.
The copy continues beyond each button as it adds more and
more reasons why the person reading should respond positively.
These are often a reiteration of points already made, or perhaps
more personal testimonials.

Copy of this kind can carry on for many pages, and you should
not think that this repetition is overkill. People who are
interested will continue reading as they slowly convince
themselves that their parting with money is justified. It is a
clever way of trying to pre-empt that fateful buyer’s remorse. A
purchase based on a gut reaction may be quickly cancelled. The
longer a customer takes to arrive at a decision to buy, the
happier they will be that all the salient points have been
addressed, and their objections overcome.

                              How to Copywrite Right            Page 15
Devil in the Detail

For copywriters, the devil is actually in the generality. Details
are interesting and draw the reader in (remember the Martians
who ate that poor Chihuahua?). They lend some authority to the
information contained in your copy, and this helps to relax the
reader into feeling it’s safe to take action and buy.

Be Interesting, Get Excited

Someone, somewhere in the world, wants to buy what your copy
is attempting to promote. You may find it impossible to believe,
but if you want to write interesting copy then you’d better
accept it’s true. Your task as a copywriter is to understand the
mindset of the target audience, even where this is a niche crowd,
and to get excited on their behalf. Enthusiasm sells.

Offer Testimonials

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that testimonials can be
fabricated. Short of getting the phone numbers of satisfied
customers for prospective new customers to call up, testimonials
have to work on the basis of trust. Nevertheless, a sales page
without testimonials looks decidedly unconvincing.

Offer a Guarantee

In conjunction with an impressive list of testimonials, a money-
back guarantee is a powerful sales tool to add to your copy. This
may not be up to you, of course, but you should certainly have
the confidence of knowing that making this suggestion to a
client shows you have a sound understanding of what does and
doesn’t work. In cases where guarantees are given, less than 2%
of customers ever claim their money back

Go for the Close

                              How to Copywrite Right           Page 16
There is not much point writing scintillating copy if you don’t
ask for the order. It is not distasteful to do this, but a lot of copy
avoids doing so. People know pretty quickly when they are
reading an advert, however cunningly disguised as help and
advice at the outset, and they expect it to end with a bid for their
cash. Ask for the order, make it simple for the customer to buy,
and close the sale. It’s the whole point of direct response copy.

Weave your Spell

More precisely, weave a sprinkling of magic words into your
copy and see how they work wonders. Certain words have, over
time, proven to be powerful influencers when strategically
dropped into promotional copy.

Powerful, amazing, astonishing, exciting, fantastic, fascinating,
phenomenal, revolutionary, wonderful, special, unique, super,
exclusive, incredible … and other similar superlatives.

And don’t forget offer-related words, and words that suggest an
event to take notice of: guaranteed, urgent, announcing, new,
introducing, first, free, improved, initial, limited offer, time-
sensitive, time-limited, revealing, successful, breakthrough …

Finally, keep in mind the personal connection you make when
you talk to your audience in the second person singular: YOU.

Be Truthful

This means be truthful with your audience and with yourself.
Sincerity sells. Copy that lies or bends the truth passes straight
into the bad copy category, despite any sales it might elicit. Bad
reps are too easily spread around these days via the internet.
Also be aware that “time-sensitive” offers that actually never
end are highly disingenuous and can insult the customer’s
intelligence. In this down economy, you don’t really need to
explain why a discount is being offered.

                                How to Copywrite Right             Page 17
Be Honest With Yourself

For your own part, face up to the truth of your own work. Ask
yourself if what you’ve written would cause you to buy. If not,
what is lacking that can be added, or weak that can be

Review and Rewrite

You will answer the above question about the quality of your
own work far more easily by carrying out a serious and repeated
review of it before you submit it. It is a very rare copywriter
who can write a perfect piece of copy straight off. If you think
you can do this, you are either amazing or deluded.

It is perfectly normal to finish your copy and then want to
rewrite parts of it, and to go through this many times until you
finally read through and have no corrections you wish to make.
That process does not make you an amateur; it’s what makes
you a professional.

Naturally, this extra work will effectively reduce your hourly
rate of pay, but it should make for a very happy client, and that
will mean repeat business and often referred business.

Understand the Power of Words

This is the most fundamental point, but covers more than the
overall message you are conveying. You need to be aware of the
connotations of each word and phrase you use, and be happy
that you are giving out the right message.

                              How to Copywrite Right            Page 18
Ice to an Eskimo, Sand to an Arab
We all know the clichés about the amazing feats of the best
salespeople, likened to being able to sell ice to Eskimos and
sand to Arabs. As a copywriter, you are, whether you like it or
not, a salesperson.

Some people may not like the implications of that. After all,
doesn’t your heart sink when a salesperson appears on your
doorstep? Don’t you perform a quick detour like a pro footballer
avoiding a tackle whenever a salesperson heads your way in the

Copywriters need to feel comfortable with what they are doing.
This is crucial if you are to produce your best copy. Remember
that selling is just about the oldest profession on the planet
(there is one supposedly older, also vaguely sales-related). Get
rid of all the salespeople and everything stops. Stores close
down and trade disappears, locally, nationally, globally.

Copywriters are part of a noble profession without which the
world could not operate.

You need to want to sell ice to Eskimos to be a copywriter. You
can’t judge the rights or wrongs of the issue. It is not your job to
decide whether anyone truly needs what you are promoting; you
just need to promote it when asked to do so. Look around your
home and count the items you truly need to have in there to
survive. There won’t be much.

To write effective copy, you must be passionate about selling,
not just writing. Passion is the key that unlocks the door through
to that VIP lounge where only the top copywriters get to chill
out after a job well done (and well paid).

You must have met a salesperson who made you feel
enthusiastic about a product you never knew you wanted. That’s

                               How to Copywrite Right            Page 19
the effect your writing must have. Equally, you will have no
doubt encountered the opposite type who approaches you with
the sale already lost in their mind. It’s in their expression, their
gait, their voice. Be mindful that it is possible to inject all those
negative elements into the written word. If you sit down to a
copywriting project feeling bored by the whole prospect, then
you are doing your client and your talent a huge disservice.

The brief may not be terribly exciting for you personally, but
you can overcome this in various ways:

    See it as a professional challenge, and derive your
     excitement from that.
    Embrace the subject without prejudgment. You may find
     that what you thought would be boring may turn out to be
     quite fascinating. It happens more than you might think.
    Enjoy learning about something new. This is a joy in itself.
    Gain satisfaction in knowing your client will be happy.
    Know you are doing your personal best, and enjoy the
     feeling that gives.

As much as you should strive for this ultimate passion in your
copywriting, you must always remember that the ice-to-Eskimo
analogy defines a mythical pinnacle of success that actually
doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Supposing you did sell an Eskimo
some ice, once his friends and relatives had roundly called him a
moron and pointed out all the white stuff in his environs, that
would put paid to any repeat business.

The point is not to get too caught up in the big money talk too
soon. It’s easy that way to become dissatisfied with your own
achievements, which may in reality be pretty substantial.

                                How to Copywrite Right             Page 20
Every Day in Every Way …
Yes, you will get better, provided you take the time and make
the effort. Writing of any sort improves with practice – that’s the
time element. The effort you make is your seeking out the best
advice to ensure that you practice the right way.

Practice alone means very little, especially if it is just a
repetition of previous mistakes that you don’t even know are
mistakes. Copywriting rules (the science) can be learned by
anyone. A ten year-old could learn by heart the rules already
detailed in the third chapter; that’s not the same as putting them
into practice and making them work.

The rules are just the foundation. The foundations of a house
cannot be seen from a distance because they are below ground.
You can’t live comfortably on concrete foundations. Similarly,
you don’t get paid as a copywriter just for knowing the rules;
your client wants to see you build a wonderful house. That’s
where the money is. Remember it is perfectly possible to build a
horrible house on very strong foundations, and you may have no
clue this is happening if you stay on the inside looking out.

Your education as a copywriter really kicks off when you start
taking notice of how other people have built their houses. You
watch what they’ve done, you watch what they do, and you
learn from them. The best copywriters have spent years honing
their skills to win the top jobs and earn the respect of their
clients and their fellow copywriters. These are the people you
need to seek out, and the internet provides an easy way to do

                              How to Copywrite Right            Page 21
The Close
The close in marketing is when the salesperson goes for the kill
– the sale. In closing this ebook down, a final piece of advice
must be offered to you, the budding copywriter.

Be prepared to work extremely hard. It would be wrong to have
talked about the importance of writing honest copy and then
leave you with the idea that you will join the millionaire
copywriters’ club in six months. Even many of the copywriters
mentioned above who are at the top of their game are not in that
earnings bracket. And they are still, after years in the business,
putting in just as many hours as the guy working construction.

If you are prepared to learn the rules, absorb the science, hone
your art, and practice, practice, practice, then you are ready to
step up onto the first rung of the ladder.

This is where your education begins and the hard work starts.
Copywriting requires an immense amount of dedication. In the
early days there will be setbacks and lean times. It is a
competitive industry that is unregulated and therefore open to
anyone who fancies their chances.

You must be committed to staying the course. If you can do that,
you will steadily build your client list and establish yourself as a
professional to be taken seriously.

At this point, it is traditional to wish you good luck.

So good luck!

Just remember that the harder you work, the luckier you will be.

                               How to Copywrite Right            Page 22

To top